Every nonprofit has its champions – people who donate, serve on the board, serve on committees, chair events, volunteer, support and teach the program, and advocate for the cause. Art in Action has always been fortunate to have many champions, all of whom have been a cornerstone of our success.
According to Lori Rhodes, our current Board Co-Chair, “Sometimes a very special kind of champion comes into an organization like ours and has a profound impact on the entire organization. Denise Shackleton has been just this kind of champion for Art in Action for over a decade. She has worked tirelessly in every leadership role within our organization with wisdom and grace.”
We owe a world of gratitude to Denise, her husband Woody, and her entire family and will continue our efforts to mirror their passion and commitment. As we embark on our MOVEMENT to bring art to more children than ever before, the Shackleton family inspires us to focus our efforts on the vision that EVERY child deserves art because children flourish when imagination and creativity drive learning. The more great art programs we can offer, the more we can transform lives, making us all healthier, happier, and more compassionate and fun-loving human beings.
Art in Action was the featured nonprofit organization at the BoxWorks 2015 conference in San Francisco, CA. In addition to the visibility gained in the tech community through this partnership, we connected with conference attendees by providing them with the opportunity to learn about how we bring art to kids. With much enthusiasm, they assembled ARTboxes for our schools and wrote encouraging notes to the students that were included in the boxes. We are grateful for their support and look forward to additional collaborations.
Through another year of generous support from the Adobe Foundation, Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Palo Alto Community Fund, and Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund 2,500 underserved students in East Palo Alto, San Jose, and Redwood City are getting the arts education they deserve.
New funders this year included the Intero Foundation, Sares/Regis Group, and the Quest Foundation which helped us reach even more students in Bay Area Title I schools.
We expanded our reach beyond the Bay Area to Monterey County thanks to a partnership between the Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation and Salinas City Elementary School District. The partnership enabled us to provide educational equity district-wide to all 600 students in their after-school program. According to Salinas City After-School Program Manager, Kristi Burns, “We were looking for a comprehensive art program that was easy to implement in all our schools and we found this in the Art in Action Program. The kids really love it and always look forward to the lessons.”
We are grateful for the support of our donors, volunteers and school communities that helped us reach a record number of students this past year while investing in the quality and experience of the program through new initiatives.
Art in Action ended the 2015–2016 fiscal year with a modest surplus on a budget of $1.1 million. Earned income from Programs grew 8% over the prior year. Revenue from our special event, OBJECT:ART, increased 26% year-over-year.
To honor cultural sensitivity, two lessons featuring sacred Native American objects were revised with input from a docent and a Zuni Pueblo Stanford University student. In the Kindergarten program we developed the Zuni Water Jar inspired by Zuni ceramic artists, replacing the lesson inspired by Zuni Kachina, objects used in sacred rituals. In first grade, students create clay animals based on Native American Tlingit art, replacing the sacred Tlingit rattle.
This spring we forged an exciting and progressive partnership with the Mobile Art Academy to create digital art curricula from our lessons on Van Gogh, Miró, Cezanne, Braque and Stella in program levels K through 3, and 8. Lessons will be ready for classroom use in the Fall of 2017.
Art in Action’s outreach hit a new level this year by serving thousands of students in after-school programs. AlphaBEST, an afterschool and summer program headquartered in Lewisville, NC, is providing 12,650 students in 253 schools with our program. “We are thrilled we are able to give art to so many kids in this unique after-school program.” AlphaBEST Education CEO Judy Nee said, “As a leading provider of after school and summer enrichment programs, AlphaBEST Education was seeking a partner arts organization to provide engaging and educational arts curriculum. After researching programs all over the country, we found that Art in Action more than meets our needs. The program will add a new level of academically-enriched offerings that our students will love.”
Other after-school programs using Art in Action include City Year of San Jose/Silicon Valley and the Youth Policy Institute of Los Angeles.
A hallmark of Art in Action is the flexibility it gives schools to tailor the program to fit their needs while retaining the benefits of an impactful curriculum. Playa Vista, a TK-5 school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is one of those schools. They selected Art in Action as the school’s first comprehensive parent-taught art program because of the breadth and diversity of the curriculum. While the academic focus of the school is STEM, parent and Art in Action school coordinator Sunita Sunir worked with the principal and a science curriculum writer to integrate Art in Action with grade-level science curriculum. For instance, the Kindergarten class used our second-grade lesson inspired by Kirchner’s Hockey Players to support the learning about forces of motion; the third-grade Van Gogh Starry Night lesson turned out to be perfect to help first-grade students discuss patterns in space (like orbits); and students focused on principles of biomimicry through our first grade Banda Mask project.
OBJECT:ART 2016 was a night to remember! We heard stories about how art impacts people...from Emcee Mindi Bach talking about what having art at her kids’ school means to her...to our Founder Judy Sleeth who saw the number of people in the audience carrying her work forward... to the third graders that were painting in the style of Pollock...to Google Doodler Dennis Hwang describing his research into the art and philanthropy of a football star...to Art Visionary Award recipient Vernon Davis revealing how art has been integral to his life. We thank our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and friends who made the night such a success and raised a record amount – over $200,000 to help us make sure all kids have the arts education they deserve.
We love One Brick! For over 9 years, dedicated One Brick volunteers have been volunteering with us once or twice a month. They have packed thousands of boxes of art materials, painted our office, and helped with our annual fundraising event. We couldn’t pack and ship our 19 tons of art materials nationwide without them!
Other corporate volunteers include Cisco, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Girl Scouts, National Charity League, and Yahoo!